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Best Employee Engagement Ideas for Startups in 2021

Note: This post has been guest authored by Anna, who is a content manager at Movavi, an international software company. Interested in team-building strategies and their influence on business growth. Anna is a researcher helping companies to achieve ambitious goals by growing strong teams and inspired specialists.

Employee engagement is a crucial aspect of every business. If the people working for you are motivated and engaged, they will be more likely to perform at their best. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be relying on the abilities of your staff to get the business going and reach your goals. This is also why, as a small business owner, you should be very careful when it comes to implementing engagement tactics. You want the employees to get along because when they do, they will perform much better as a team. When they can collaborate, you’ll also see better results. So, this article will bring some employee engagement ideas that you’ll want to use.

The Peculiarities of a Startup

Startups are quite special. Many people don’t even realize what such a business entails until they actually start on one. Startups aren’t just the new cool thing to get you on the rich scale; a startup means much more than that.

The thing about startups is that they are different from big corporations, where everyone needs to figure out how to get along by themselves. Startups have fewer people in line, which makes them more like a family. In a startup, a small team often goes through the same amount of stress together, enjoying each bit of success that you gain along the way.

This is why you need to understand the people around you in a startup. Together, you must be able to adapt to the tasks and adjustments coming your way. In a startup, you need the employees’ full engagement as well – something that might take a little bit of extra work, since there are very few of them in the first place.

Creating the Right Employee Environment

Statistics show that about 57% of the employees quit because of their employer or their overall work environment. They don’t get along well with their co-workers, they grow frustrated due to lack of cooperation – and the final nail in the coffin is added when they start doing all the work by themselves.

This is why, as an employer, you might want to create the right environment. Create a place with a friendly atmosphere where people won’t be afraid to speak what’s on their mind and giving feedback, particularly when it is something that might help your company. Tools such as Lattice Engagement have shown to be quite effective if you want to measure your overall employee satisfaction with the environment.

Importance of Recognition

Everyone loves it when they are praised for their achievements. This doesn’t mean that you have to praise them for every little thing they do – but offering them recognition now and again will boost their morale and create a much stronger sense of motivation.

This is why you might want to set up some sort of rewards and recognition program. When they see that their efforts are appreciated, they will feel more motivated and more likely to go the extra mile. Recognition is at the base of every employee engagement strategy, which is why you need to find ways to make your team feel like they are appreciated.

For instance, a good strategy, in this case, would be to offer benefits to employees that have achieved a certain rank through their hard work. It doesn’t have to be something overly expensive; just something that will get your idea across. You might want to set a board for “employee of the month” as well. This will give them the kind of recognition that will keep them going.

Freedom for Initiative

Here’s the thing about startups: they are very often built on freedom. Let’s say that you are someone that quit their 9-to-5 job because you wanted more freedom – more initiative. Your employee didn’t give that to you, so you went and made your own startup where you had the freedom to decide on things.

That being said, there’s no rule that says companies shouldn’t allow their employees to take the initiative. In fact, this might actually prove convenient for you, as you never know what bright minds you might have on your team – not unless you allow them to speak.

Sometimes, it might take programs such as Slack in order to connect yourself more to your team. You’ll be able to share ideas – and if they have something that you could use, you may implement things for the good of your company.

Plus, allowing your employees the freedom for the initiative will also work for giving them recognition. When they have a good plan to help with the growth of your startup, and that plan gets recognized, they will have a feeling of accomplishment. This will give them more courage to get involved, become engaged with the company, and add to its improvement.

The Celebration of Milestones

Milestones are very important, regardless of their nature. So, whenever your employees reach a milestone, you might want to celebrate it with them. It might be a birthday, a work anniversary, or any other important event. To keep their good mood (and therefore, their engagement) up, you need to keep track of these milestones.

Sometimes, with all the busy schedules taking over everything, it might be rather difficult to keep track of these occasions. When they are overlooked, it can also leave a negative mark on the way the employee feels about their workplace.

As an employer, you must remember the milestones and special occasions of your employee – and obviously, celebrate with them. Not only will this make them feel happy, but it will also improve camaraderie. Programs such as Impraise might also help you build onto that milestone engagement.

If the people working for you are happy, then you can expect more good work to be done. It might seem like something small – something your employees may celebrate by themselves in their free time – but these little activities will go a long way. They’ll help your employee feel much closer to their workplace – in turn, this will make them more productive on their tasks.

Fun Activities for Team Building

Team building very often makes the difference between a successful project and a less successful one. If your employees are able to communicate with one another, they are more likely to have a good collaboration. They don’t need to become best friends; they just have to know each other well enough so that they can function together as a tight-knit team.

Think about it this way: if every employee saw the others as “just that person I work with,” they would not feel close enough to actually get invested. Arguments can also arise very often between people that do not know each other or simply do not get along. This is why you need to use team-building as one of your employee engagement strategies because it will help your group grow much closer.

There are several fun ways in which you can do some team building, all of which will depend on your staff, their availability, and their preferences. Here are just some of the best practices that you may implement:

1. Set Team Goals

If you want your team to work well together, you have to get them to set collective goals. When they have something to look forward to and work towards, they will be most likely to cooperate. It will help you remove the silos and lead to a better connection within your team.

2. Tackle Team Sports

If you have an active team, then you might want to hold a sports event together. Maybe organize a basketball day or do some sand volley on the field. Get to know your employees and find out what they like the most. This will give your team the opportunity to get moving and keep themselves on the health track while learning how to cooperate.

3. Go on a City Escape

Sometimes, the best kind of team building is to take your team and just go on a hike. Now, you don’t have to go on any complicated routes; you can just explore your city. If you have the possibility, you can visit other cities as well. Find a nice city with some proper sights to see and enjoy those things together as a team.

Film the sights, take some pictures – and then use programs such as the Fastreel video editor to put together a video. Whenever your team will have a bad moment, they will look back at that video and remember that there are good days too, when the team feels like their family.

4. Hold a Quiz Night

Whether you go for a quiz day or a quiz night (depending on the availability of your employees), these types of activities should help you quite a lot when it comes to team building.

You may use the Typeform Quiz Maker in order to create the perfect quiz, or you may go for the classic carton methods, whichever method feels easier for you. If you can, use topics related to work, as it will help with your startup in the long run. Other than that, simply allow your brainiacs to have some fun.

5. Chip In for Good Causes

Nothing brings teams closer like the knowledge that together, they helped someone in more need than they were. Whether it’s gathering money to help the homeless or physically helping at the shelters, these types of events will very often create a strong bond within the team and promote employee engagement.

Remote Work Option & Remote Employee Engagement

A lot of employees, particularly millennials, wanted the option of working from home – and this was way before the COVID-19 crisis struck the entire globe. Even after the pandemic comes to an end, 60% of employees still say that they would like the option of working from home more.

Employees perform and engage at their best when they feel like they have some sort of work-life balance. When half their free time is spent on commuting, it’s quite difficult to have some you-time or proper family time.

Employees are happy when they have both options available for choice. Sometimes, they may feel like going to the physical office in order to change from their home environment. Maybe they want to get away from some noise or to socialize with their co-workers.

At the same time, they might like to work from home when they have a bad commuting day or simply do not feel like going to the office. Or maybe they want to go to a relaxing place where they can work, such as the beach or a quiet green area where they won’t be disturbed.

In times when their work can be done from a remote location, most employees would like to have the option to not have to commute to the office. Maybe they have a project they can work on by themselves or a meeting that could be held through a video call.

If their physical presence is not specifically required (no labor or on-site work is needed), they should have the option of doing their job from the place they find comfort in. Every company should find this to be a good measure for employee satisfaction, especially when they are thinking of tips on how to engage employees.

The Bottom Line

Startups can be very successful if you learn how to engage employees from the very beginning. It will increase the commitment – the love for the community that they are currently taking a part in. Hopefully, the tips provided in our articles can come to good use.

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